Ballade is the French word for "ballad." It is a musical form and a style of Medieval and Renaissance French poetry.
The ballade started in the Medieval period with three eight-line stanzas, each with the same rhyme scheme. In addition, each stanza was in bar form, which includes a repeated musical section followed by the remaining lines and the refrain.
In the late 18th century, the Classical ballade came to mean a setting of the Lied, a literary ballad or narrative poem, or a one-movement instrumental piece with dramatic narrative qualities. In German literature, the ballade was used to describe folklike narrative poetry.
- Frédéric Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23
- Gabriel Fauré: Ballade for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 19
- Johannes Brahms: Ballade Op. 10 No. 2 in D Major
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Here is an excerpt from Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G minor. Notice its dramatic quality.